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Like it or not, Facebook has changed the culture of how many people make friends and socialize. Whatever your age group demographic: Generation Y, Generation X or Baby Boomer, instant communication like e-mail, Twitter, blog posts and text messaging have changed the way you inquire, answer and research. In contrast to an individual's page loaded with more personal information and content, Facebook business pages offer an easy way to promote your lesson programs, build your brand and publicize your events using the lightning speed of the internet.
Here are the reasons for you to consider.
1. It's free. You can spend huge amounts of money on traditional advertising, direct mail and web sites and get no measurable results. For the record, I'm not knocking magazine advertising or mailed flyers and postcards or websites. When done correctly, they have their targeted roles for effective marketing of a business. However, a Facebook business page requires no cash outlay and feedback and results of your posts are immediate and measurable.
2. It's easy to update with photos of your clients and their horses, with their consent of course. Who doesn't like to see a photo of themselves, enjoying what they love to do most- ride a horse? And with children in particular, they'll point out your business page to friends, aunts, uncles and grandparents who will click on the like button to become a fan of your page, too.
3. Your updates are immediate. The Facebook news feed flows like a waterfall with timely information. Facebook streams your latest business news across your followers' computer screens or smart phones for her or his instant gratification. Imagine the possible results for recapturing lesson income from a cancellation.
You post on your Facebook business page: "Cancelled lesson at 4:30 today creates an opportunity for you to improve your riding. Who would like to take advantage of this lesson time? Message, text or call me!"
4. No longer for teens and young adults only, Facebook serves both youth and mature clients. While not everyone is on Facebook, there is no denying it's a powerful communication tool. You're missing opportunities to communicate with Generation X and Baby Boomers, two demographics with the time and money to take more riding lessons.
5. Attention spans are growing shorter. The internet, cable and satellite TV and electronic gaming and entertainment have conditioned your clients to demand short bursts of information. Here is how one of my business page fans answered a question I posed asking what my followers liked about Facebook:
"I rarely have time to read a full article (especially during the warmer months), so I like the quick tips & helpful hints that I can read in two minutes. Plus I like the comment part so when I DO have time I can read others responses"
6. Starts a conversation where people can share and meet others. Most people agree dialogue is good, but in many live social situations, people often feel awkward and bashful starting a conversation with others they don't know. Facebook removes those barriers as its culture encourages back and forth commenting, often between strangers. To reinforce the point, here is what another fan of my Facebook business page said about the value of Facebook:
"Connect with like minded people who I might not otherwise have known..."
7. Do it yourself! You can spread your business news all by yourself at whatever hour of the day or night you choose. Whether early in the morning before your work with people and horses starts, or late in the evening after chores are done, there are no time boundaries. There is no need to open up your website and use website programming language or pass along the information to your webmaster and wait and hope for a timely update.
8. No aggressive spam filters to intercept your message. E-mailed newsletters and promotional pieces were excellent communication tools in the past. However, as e-mail inboxes began to explode with both legitimate and junk mail, spam filters began routing many desired e-mails to junk folders. The intended recipient often missed the communication entirely. Facebook news feeds avoid the spam filters' agressive attitudes toward inbound mail cleansing.
9. It's conversational. You don't need to be polished with your writing as Facebook's informality and conversational style have made it easier for those who are reluctant writers. If dreading the possibility of spelling or grammatical errors prevented you from writing in the past, you can be relieved Facebook has relaxed the standards of your eighth grade English teacher.
10. Leverage your Facebook business page postings by imbedding your Facebook business page news feed on your website home page. Visitors to your site will see your latest postings which does two things for you. It creates fresh, current content for your website with no extra effort. Anyone with a website knows the chore of updating frequently with "new" content.
The bonus benefit is the invitation to visitors to click and "like" your Facebook business page. Your Facebook entries will help prospects get to know, like and trust you over time to become clients.
No doubt there are more, but the ten good reasons above ought to be plenty to motivate you to look into starting your own Facebook business page today! And I'd be delighted to have you click "Like" on my Facebook page, too. You can find it here: http://www.facebook.com/profitablehorseman